Question: I rent a house owned by someone who apparently is having financial problems. The overall quality of service from the owner has deteriorated in recent months and now I am getting copies of notices from the utility company threatening to shut off the power because of nonpayment. I have been continuing to pay the rent due under our rental agreement. What are my choices here?
Answer: Tenants whose landlords fail to provide utilities that are supposed to be included in the rent used to have very limited remedies. But in 2009, California passed a group of amendments to the California Civil Code and to the Public Utilities Code that, in summary, allow tenants to bypass errant landlords.